Train Links by Elaine Terranova


A train will pass,

in the dark, refineries,

those ships of lights,

or the moon’s vigilance.


It takes us to work.

It takes us straight ahead

in our lives, except


as this last month,

when it has twice

proved fatal.

Once, in a heavy rain,

and all the trains thereafter,

late and slow.


The other time

they get us off

at 30th St. station onto

a bus they have waiting.


We lose a sense

of direction, stepping out

of who we are each day

at such a time, pausing maybe

to reconsider.


One could say

a benign hostage situation.

And there are platters

of chicken and ribs

picked up at the station.

We pair and trade life stories.


The bus begins to smell

like a third-world movie bus,

filled with the people

and domestic animals.

I can get you to Darby,

a woman taps the lost

bus driver’s shoulder.


Train accident?  But a train

is a sure thing.

Those fast trains, you’d

calculate their speed

in decibels.


A pedestrian,

they said.  Well, yes,

he moved his feet

but who would walk

unknowing past

a chain link fence?


Did I say that this

was the last beautiful day

of autumn?


We board again

and pass a clean up crew

in shirtsleeves

still pinching shut

square plastic bags,

the kind that keep


goldfish alive, red pooling

in the corners.

Again, that staircase motion,

shifting with it, until

the conductor calls

the next stop into existence

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Elaine Terranova


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